Before heading to class Thursday morning, Hudson Williams, his younger brother and his father all received COVID-19 tests at a mobile testing site just up the block from the students' elementary school.
“They are not testing kindergartners right now, and we want to make sure he gets tested," Hudson's father, Roy Williams, explained. "It keeps the community safe. It keeps the school safe."
The Parent Teacher Association at P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights arranged for the mobile testing van to offer additional testing for both families and teachers. Many say city schools are not testing enough.
What You Need To Know
- The Parent Teacher Association at P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights arranged for a mobile COVID-19 testing van to visit the school Thursday morning
- Parents say say city schools are not testing enough and are concerned schools can’t accurately track new cases
- DOE officials say their schools have been some of the safest places during the pandemic and that the in-school positivity rate is significantly lower than citywide rates
Every week, the city's Department of Education aims to randomly test 10% of unvaccinated children who consent to the swab, but just a fraction of parents have opted in, fueling concerns that schools can’t accurately track new cases.
“We are stuck at this place where we can rely on 10% randomized testing, which might be the same kid multiple kids in a row and omit somebody,” Co-PTA President Jennifer Rendeiro said. “So we are trying to do this today to see if we can get some more testing."
The mobile testing van is operated by the company Lab Q. After a quick nasal swab, students can get their results within 24 hours.
If 50 people get swabbed, the visit from the van is free. If not, the PTA is charged $500 - a small amount for a PTA that raised more than $1.5 million in the 2018-2019 school year. Parents at other schools have similar concerns, but with not-as-well-funded PTAs, those schools cannot afford a mobile testing site.
DOE officials say their schools have been some of the safest places during the pandemic and that the in-school positivity rate is significantly lower than citywide rates. Additionally, there are hundreds of free city-run testing sites across all five boroughs.